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Apps for Skin Cancer?? Really....

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posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 12:56 AM
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According to this article, Skin cancer phone apps aren't very accurate: study, the apps are marketed as educational only and so aren't covered as medical devices under the Food and Drug Administration's regulations.
But that may not stop some people from relying on the inexpensive tools instead of going to see a dermatologist, researchers said - which could mean slower diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions.


For the new study, researchers used photos of 188 pre-diagnosed lesions - 60 melanomas and 128 benign lesions - to check the accuracy of four Smartphone apps made to look for melanoma in previously-taken images.

Three of those apps, which cost under $5 to own, use algorithms to determine whether a lesion is likely to be cancerous or not. The fourth sends images to a certified dermatologist for evaluation, at a price of $5 per lesion.

Of the three algorithm-based apps, the most accurate still missed 18 of the 60 melanomas, mistakenly classifying them as lower-risk, Dr. Laura Ferris from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and her colleagues reported Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.


App users "need to know that that's a pretty big risk to take," Ferris said.

Both researchers said teledermatology - giving people who live in rural areas, for example, the chance to consult with a dermatologist through photos or video - can be useful. Edison, for example, once used it to diagnose a farmer living hours away with melanoma during harvest season.

But they agreed that for now - and probably for the foreseeable future - machines and apps can't beat in-person exams when it comes to checking for skin cancer.

Video source here

It is amazing what can be done by way of a smart phone but I hope that people will not think that these apps will be accurate.
If in doubt of an unusual spot/blemish, always go see a doctor ASAP.

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ETA: I know this isn't as entertaining as the gun threads but thought this might be interesting for some....



edit on 18-1-2013 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 04:48 AM
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I hope that they have VERY detailed disclaimers on those apps, you know people are actually going to use this as if it was a medical device! People don't listen and then they'll look for someone to blame and then, there comes the lawsuit.
Just found out today my former boss passed away from skin cancer, having battled it for the last 10 yrs. Not something to play around with.
Thanks for bringing it up, sorry I can't flag yet, I'm not yet trusted with the flag feature!



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 08:27 PM
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Originally posted by Sayitaintso
I hope that they have VERY detailed disclaimers on those apps, you know people are actually going to use this as if it was a medical device! People don't listen and then they'll look for someone to blame and then, there comes the lawsuit.
Just found out today my former boss passed away from skin cancer, having battled it for the last 10 yrs. Not something to play around with.
Thanks for bringing it up, sorry I can't flag yet, I'm not yet trusted with the flag feature!


That's what is spooky, the thought that some people may rely on apps rather than go to a doctor. And as addicted as people are getting to their phones, I wouldn't be surprised.

Sorry to hear about your boss....skin cancer is a very serious issue not to be taken lightly.



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 08:36 PM
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As a healthcare provider, I see a lot of suspicious skin lesions and have to recommend that the patient go and get it evaluated by their dermatologist. You would be surprised at how many people refuse to follow up. I would say less than 50%, probably the number is even closer to 60%+.

I'm impressed that people are even buying the app in the first place. If it gets even a few people to go and get things checked, then I am all for it.



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by rimjaja
As a healthcare provider, I see a lot of suspicious skin lesions and have to recommend that the patient go and get it evaluated by their dermatologist. You would be surprised at how many people refuse to follow up. I would say less than 50%, probably the number is even closer to 60%+.

I'm impressed that people are even buying the app in the first place. If it gets even a few people to go and get things checked, then I am all for it.


That's a different perspective on it....a more positive one.

Maybe it will bring more awareness to it and more people will have a doctor look at them.

Thanks~
snarky





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